ESTA stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization and allows certain travellers who intend to stay for less than 90 days in the United States or who transit through the United States to obtain an electronic travel authorization to travel to the United States.
The program has been in effect since August 2008, and is mandatory since January 12,2009.
Your passport must be valid when you arrive in the United States
The duration of your trip must be 90 days maximum
Your trip must be a tourist or business trip. You are not allowed to engage in gainful employment.
ESTA is valid for two years (or until your passport expires)
It can be used for multiple inputs in the USA
ESTA is an intelligence system used by the United States Homeland Security for nationals of states that do not require a visa to re-enter the United States. It's an exemption from VISA. This program is signed by 37 countries. This authorization allows these travellers to enter the United States without a visa. Simply fill out the online form and follow the instructions.
To apply for ESTA, you must follow a simplified procedure. Supporting documents will be required. The application form is available online. It should be noted that valid VISA holders do not need to apply for a visa waiver (since they already have a VISA).
ESTA was set up to filter the flow of travellers at airports and within the United States. The aim is to strengthen security measures in the fight against terrorism following the attacks of 11 September. It allows the United States to take preventive measures against all types of security risks and violations of the law.
The United States have the will to make a selection among the travellers who wish to return to the American territory. The information provided by the traveller will help determine whether or not they will be accepted in the United States. The objective is to limit the risks and facilitate the work of immigration officers who need to identify at-risk travellers.
No, ESTA is not a VISA. This question comes up very often. Many people think that ESTA and VISA are two synonyms and yet the ESTA travel authorisation is not equivalent to and does not replace a VISA. Moreover, the VISA exemption bears its name well: it allows travel to the USA by being exempted from VISA.
Not everyone can benefit from ESTA. Only nationals of countries that have signed the Visa Walser Program (VWP) are eligible. These same nationals must have a passport with optical or biometric reading. These travellers must necessarily use a shipping or airline company accepted by the United States.
The stay of these foreign nationals may not exceed 90 days for tourism or business purposes. If these 90 days are exceeded, the consequences can be serious! Therefore, please observe all ESTA regulations!
For your information, it is strongly recommended that you make your request at least 72 hours before a scheduled departure. The authorization is also valid for two years (or, if your passport expires earlier, the expiry date of validity, until the expiry date of your passport).
It allows you to make multiple round trips. Remember that if you need to renew your passport, it will also be necessary to renew your application.
In 99.9% of the cases, your request will be accepted. If you have completed the online form correctly, if you meet the requirements, your authorization will be issued within hours and no later than 24 hours. The answer can be almost immediate.
If your file is filled out correctly, you will receive the message granting you the authorization within 5 minutes. You will then only need to print your authorization.
You may receive the following response:"Permission Pending". Within 72 hours, you will be given an agreement or refusal.
If your application is refused, you will need to go to the U. S. Embassy and apply for a VISA. For other terms related to the VISA waiver, you can consult our glossary.
Before you apply for ESTA and avoid your application being refusede, take the time to verify that the rules that apply to this ESTA authorization correspond to your needs. Otherwise, you will need to apply for a VISA at the US Consulate.
It is quite possible to travel with a pet; simply follow certain rules and provide two documents: a health card (with a certificate) and an up-to-date vaccination card.
Hawaii is the only state in the United States that is outside the territory. In spite of this, it is quite possible to visit Hawaii with ESTA. So, take the opportunity to visit this paradisiacal place, with breathtaking landscapes!
Following the Brussels and Paris Attacks, the European Union is currently considering the establishment of an ESTA in Europe. Initiated by Paris and Berlin, this authorisation would only concern, as for the USA, travellers who do not need to obtain a VISA to travel to the EU.